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We are the champions

05 August 2015

And rightly so, this year’s BSIF Safety Excellence Award was presented to Brammer and the Royal Mint for their success in reducing hand related injuries to zero.

Here is how they won.

The Royal Mint faced a significant challenge around the use of gloves by its production employees. No less than 33 different types of gloves from numerous manufacturers were being used regularly on site, as well as others used on an ad hoc basis, with little control over purchasing and selection. In fact, 34,000 pairs used in one year alone with an annual spend in this area of some £70,000. However, the range of products available did not necessarily mean that the most suitable gloves were being used for each task; gloves were frequently being selected on the basis of familiarity rather than suitability. In year 1 (2013) the knock-on effect of this was a high cost of accidents relating to insufficient or inadequate hand protection – more than half of all accidents at Llantrisant were hand- or finger-related, as a result of not using gloves at all, using the wrong type of glove, or wearing a product of the incorrect size. The cost per accident resulting in a claim was in the region of £10,000 – to say nothing of the legal costs of investigation relating to each one.

Meanwhile the sheer volume of glove types being used meant that a disproportional amount of available storage space was being occupied by gloves, tying up valuable capital in often slow moving stock keeping units. It was agreed that a project aimed at reducing the number of glove types used while ensuring best practice in selection and usage was needed to drastically cut workplace accidents and the resulting downtime while minimising spend on gloves. The ultimate aim was to always select the right glove for the right job, based on fitness for purpose, comfort and compliance with regulations.

The Royal Mint management team tasked Brammer, a long,standing partner in the area of maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) products, to come up with a solution.

Brammer joined forces with Ansell, a global leader in hand protection, to undertake the Ansell Guardian Program to review all areas of glove usage at the Llantrisant facility. Every process across the four main production units was scientifically analysed, with Ansell Guardian assessing which glove product from its range would ideally be most suitable. Chemical analysis was undertaken to confirm the selection was correct, with the chosen glove then extensively trialled in the working area and feedback from users gleaned before a final selection was made.

The findings revealed that no less than 85% of site requirements could be catered for by holding just six types of glove in stock, while there was now a robust and measurable methodology of product selection in place.

Furthermore, in many applications, the new gloves delivered enhanced performance and longevity – in the hot end section of the MRB (milling, rolling and blanking) process, for example, the new Ansell Workguard 43-216 product lasted four times as long as the products previously being used, with similar stories through the Royal Mint’s operations.

Gloves were now also distributed through Brammer’s Invend service, an industrial vending system which uniquely removes the need for significant upfront capital investment in vending equipment by customers. Brammer supplies the machines free of charge and tracks usage automatically, replenishing products as needed, with the Royal Mint only paying for the items as they are used. The machines in each area – four banks of two – each contained only the gloves required in that area and with each member of staff having to enter a code before an items was distributed, it was easy to see which gloves had been taken, when and by whom. This ensured complete traceability round the clock while identifying any areas of excessive use or incorrect product selection, with additional staff training able to be provided if needed.

Best practice in glove selection and usage is now commonplace throughout the organisation.

Having suffered a total of 37 accidents related to hands and fingers in the previous four years, the first full year of the programme saw this figure reduced to zero – a staggering achievement.

On winning the award, Russell Gardiner, Brammer Insite manager at The Royal Mint, commented: "This award win is particularly gratifying for Brammer as it brings together several of our added value services. As a safety specialist, our thorough audits in partnership with expert PPE manufacturers such as Ansell help reveal real opportunities for safety improvements and cost reductions, while the products are delivered to individual users through our industrial vending solution, Invend. This has given The Royal Mint complete visibility over which products are being used, in which quantities and by whom, ensuring that all employees are using the correct PPE and providing full traceability.

"As a holistic solution, our work has helped to reduce hand and finger-related accidents to zero by both ensuring the correct levels of protection and also engaging employees, placing safety front-of-mind.”

Watch out for next month’s issue featuring the winners of the Product Innovation Award and the Customer Service Award for 2015.